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Wall Street Stocks Rise Tuesday        05/26 16:27


   NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks surged on Wall Street to their highest levels since 
the business shutdowns took hold in the U.S. over two months ago, climbing on 
optimism Tuesday about the reopening economy even as the nation's official 
death toll from the coronavirus closed in on 100,000, a mark President Donald 
Trump once predicted the country would never see.

   With infections mounting rapidly in places like Brazil and India, a top 
global health official warned that the crisis around the world is far from over.

   In a largely symbolic move, the New York Stock Exchange trading floor in 
lower Manhattan reopened for the first time in two months, with plexiglass 
barriers, masks and a reduced number of traders to adhere to the 6-foot 
social-distancing rules. Those entering the NYSE will have their temperatures 
taken and were asked to avoid public transportation.

   The S&P 500 closed 1.2% higher, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 
nearly 530 points, or 2.2%. Markets around the world also rose.

   "These little baby steps that we start to see different states reopening, 
different policies that are being allowed that weren't allowed two weeks ago -- 
these are all clear signals that we're moving in the right direction," said 
Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.

   New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has presided over the state with the highest 
death toll from the scourge, rang the bell to set off trading at the NYSE.

   Several thousand brokers and others used to crowd the trading floor of the 
NYSE as recently as the 1990s. But in the years since, the rise of electronic 
trading from computer terminals grew to dominate the action on Wall Street. 
These days, there are about 500 floor traders at the NYSE.

   The rally took place as the government reported that U.S. consumer 
confidence inched up this month, showing signs of stabilizing. Still, it 
remains near a six-year low in the face of the widespread business shutdowns 
that have sent the economy into recession and driven unemployment to levels 
last seen during the Great Depression.

   Over the past few days, rental car giant Hertz and South America's biggest 
airline, Latam, filed for bankruptcy, joining the likes of J. Crew, J.C. Penney 
and Neiman Marcus.

   Worldwide, the virus has infected nearly 5.5 million people, killing over 
346,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Europe has recorded 
about 170,000 deaths, while the U.S. was approaching 100,000 in a span of less 
than four months, more than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam and 
Korean wars combined.

   The true death toll is widely believed to be significantly higher, with 
experts saying many victims died of the virus without ever being tested for it.

   Trump several months ago likened the coronavirus to the flu and dismissed 
worries it could lead to so many deaths. The administration's leading 
scientists have since warned that as many as 240,000 could perish from the 

   In hard-hit New York, Cuomo reported a one-day total Tuesday of 73 deaths, 
the lowest figure in months, and down from a peak of nearly 800.

   "In this absurd new reality, that is good news," he said.

   Still, even the GOP convention in August is up in the air, with Republicans 
talking about pulling it out of North Carolina because of concerns authorities 
there might not allow such a large gathering. Georgia and Florida --- both led 
by Republican governors --- have offered to host the convention.

   In Italy, where the crisis is easing but the death toll is a staggering 
33,000, the ancient ruins at Pompeii were reopened to the public Tuesday, and 
the Colosseum in Rome, one of the world's biggest tourist attractions, will 
begin receiving visitors again on June 1, though entrance times will be 
staggered to reduce crowding and tickets must be bought online.

   The World Health Organization said that the world remains mired in only the 
first stage of the pandemic, putting a damper on hopes for a speedy global 
economic rebound.

   "Right now, we're not in the second wave. We're right in the middle of the 
first wave globally," said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's executive director.

   "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way 
up," Ryan said, pointing to South America, South Asia and other parts of the 

   India, with a population of over 1.3 billion, saw a record single-day jump 
in new cases for the seventh straight day. It reported 6,535 new infections 
Tuesday, raising its total to over 145,000, including close to 4,200 deaths.

   In Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has raged against state and local 
leaders enforcing stay-at-home measures, WHO warned that before reopening the 
economy, authorities must have enough testing in place to control the spread of 
the virus.

   Brazil has 375,000 coronavirus infections --- second only to the 1.6 million 
cases in the U.S. --- and has counted over 23,000 deaths, but many fear 
Brazil's true toll is much higher.

   Ryan said that because of Brazil's "intense" transmission rates, it should 
keep some stay-at-home measures in place, regardless of the damage to the 

   "You must continue to do everything you can," he said.

   A U.S. travel ban was set to take effect Tuesday for foreigners coming from 

   In Europe, Russian's Vladimir Putin announced that the postponed military 
parade marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II 
will take place on June 24. Victory Day has become the most important holiday 
in Russia, traditionally marked on May 9 with a show of armed might in Red 

   Putin said the country has passed the peak of the outbreak.

   Russia reported a record one-day spike Tuesday of 174 deaths, bringing the 
country's confirmed death toll to over 3,800. Russia's coronavirus caseload 
surpassed 360,000 --- the third-highest in the world --- with almost 9,000 new 
infections registered.

   The country's comparatively low mortality rate has raised questions among 
experts. Russian officials deny manipulating the figures and attribute the low 
numbers to the effectiveness of the country's lockdowns.

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